Albania: Land of the Eagle

Resort:Albania: Land of the Eagle
Operator: Cox and Kings
Destination: Albania
Price From: £1295.00


Known as the Cradle of the Balkans, Albania and North Macedonia are home to a wealth of natural and historic sites, from Lake Ohrid and the well-preserved Ottoman town of Gjirokastr to the important but lesser-known Roman ruins at Butrint and Apollonia. Travelling through spectacular mountain and coastal scenery, explore these two countries that are emerging after years of relative isolation.


Day 1: Fly to Tirana

Fly from London (regional connections available) to Tirana with British Airways. Transfer and stay at the Colosseo Hotel (or similar) for 2 nights. Welcome drink. (N)

Day 2: Kruja Tirana

Morning tour of the town of Kruja and the Skanderbeg Museum. Afternoon tour of the Albanian capital, including visits to the National Museum, Gallery of Arts, the main square and its clock tower. (B)

Day 3: Lake Ohrid

Travel east to Elbasan, stopping en route at the remains of a Turkish fort. Continue into North Macedonia and the town of Ohrid, situated on the east shore of Lake Ohrid. This Unesco world heritage site is known as the Macedonian Jerusalem due to its large number of churches. Afternoon tour including St Sophia Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in North Macedonia; the Church of St Clement at Plaosnik, where the first university in Europe was founded; and the Gallery of Icons, which has the largest collection of icons in the world. Stay at the Hotel Royal View for 1 night. (B)

Day 4: Korca

Morning visit to the Monastery of St Naum. Its position on a rocky overhang provides excellent views across the lake. Cross the border back into Albania and continue south to Korca, historically an important trade town. Visit the Museum of Medieval Arts, which displays more than 150 icons, and the Mirahor mosque, which is the oldest mosque in Albania. Stay at the Regency Hotel for 1 night. (B)

Day 5: Gjirokastr

See the Tumulus of Kamenica, the largest ancient burial mound to be excavated in the Balkans. Continue to Gjirokastr, the birthplace of Enver Hoxha, the former leader of Albania. Visit his house museum and also view the citys fortress. Perched high above the town, it is one of the largest castles in the Balkans and formerly a political prison. Overnight at Argjiro Hotel. (B)

Day 6: Saranda Butrint

Drive through scenic mountains to the coastal resort of Saranda, via the monastery of Mesopotam. Late morning tour of the Unesco world heritage site of Butrint. Explore the extensive ruins of this Graeco-Roman town and view the third century BC theatre, bath houses and baptistery. Stay overnight at the Hotel Brilant. (B)

Day 7: Vlora

Travel to Vlora, a seaport and the gateway to Italy. En route, visit the Ali Pasha castle at Porto Palermo. Stay overnight at the Hotel Vlora International / Partner Hotel. (B)

Day 8: Apollonia Berat

Morning tour of the Greek and Roman ruins at Apollonia, an important trading port for the Roman empire until the third century AD. Drive to Berat and visit the Onufri Museum of Icons, the King’s Mosque and the castle, which has the remains of 42 churches within its walls. Stay overnight at the Mangalemi Hotel (or similar). (B)

Day 9: Ardenica Durrs Tirana Fly to London

Morning drive to view the Ardenica monastery with its exquisite frescoes. Continue to Durrs to explore the largest amphitheatre in the Balkans and the accompanying Archaeological Museum. Return to Tirana to tour the Bektashi World Centre and the art gallery in the prime ministers office. Remainder of the day is at leisure. Transfer to the airport and fly to London. (B)